The first ever public screening of “The Lost Boys: Searching for Manhood”, directed and produced by Jennifer Lahl and Kallie Fell, took place on 9 March at the Annual Conference of the Scottish Union for Education (SUE) in Glasgow, Scotland.

SUE campaigns to replace indoctrination with education in Scottish schools and is battling valiantly against the woke, pro-gender-ideology Scottish National Party Government. The conference included sessions such as “What’s wrong with Scottish Education?,” “Challenging transgender ideology in the classroom,” and “Education not Indoctrination: Where do we go from here?” 

As the film’s co-writer and the European Special Consultant at the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, I was invited to attend the screening and speak on the discussion panel. The chairman asked me to introduce the documentary, which is Jennifer Lahl’s eleventh film and the third in her trilogy that deals with the harms being caused by the medical promotion of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and transgender surgeries. The session was well-attended, the film was positively received, and the ensuing discussion was energetic and insightful.

The panel chairman, Joe Bryce, a lawyer and passionate campaigner for gay rights and for the protection of boys and young men from gender ideology, began the discussion by declaring his revulsion at the so-called conversion therapy ban legislation that the Scottish Government is intending to introduce, condemning it as homophobic legislation that will lead to the transitioning of young gay people and the castration of young gay males: a “trans the gay away” measure that is far worse than anything that opponents of gay rights in earlier decades ever tried to inflict on gay people, and a measure that will also set many other vulnerable young people on a pathway to sterilisation and amputations. 

Dr Jenny Cunningham, also the speaker at an earlier session entitled “Challenging transgender ideology in the classroom”, addressed some of the serious questions raised by the audience in this session, adding to what she had said in her earlier session. Jenny is a retired community paediatrician, with expertise in neurodevelopmental disorders and autism diagnostic assessment. She is a board member of the Scottish Union for Education and authored the SUE pamphlet, “Transgender ideology in Scottish schools: what’s wrong with government guidance?

Jenny identified the scandal of gender-affirming “therapy” that is promoted by the Scottish Government and adopted by Scotland’s only GIDS (Gender Identity Development Service) clinic and associated services, where an extremely harmful approach is the norm that disregards the very large proportion of referred children who suffer from mental illnesses or neurological disorders, such as autism (representing 35% of referrals to the GIDS clinic), as well as a very large number of “looked-after” children and of children with trauma.  

Furthermore, almost 80% of young people who go through transitioning are actually same-sex attracted, and if they were left alone instead of being subjected to transitioning, then a large number would move beyond their gender dysphoria and come to terms with being gay or lesbian. The unwillingness to consider whether the problems with which young people present may have nothing at all to do with thoughts and feelings about “gender” is very alarming. 

Jenny spoke about the “affirmative approach” to young people who present for gender identity services, which starts from the position that their self-understanding with regard to their gender identity should be affirmed. It is perfectly natural for children to be anxious about puberty, but nearly every young person on puberty blockers will go on to take cross-sex hormones, followed by the possibility of amputations. This is an extremely harmful approach that has been very widely adopted by gender identity services in Scotland. This approach is particularly destructive given that 60-80% of children with a formal gender dysphoria diagnosis will find that their feelings resolve during adolescence if they are simply supported without any attempt to transition them, socially or otherwise. 

During my own replies to audience questions, I responded to the question “How do we fight back?” by suggesting that, in my view, it will be the parents who ultimately stop the march of gender ideology in its tracks, given the natural instinct of parents to protect their children from harm. I also promoted the value of challenging the oppressive state and establishment enforcement of gender ideology by encouraging more and more people to “come out” as opponents, in the same way that the early gay rights movement encouraged gay people to “come out” as a political act to challenge stereotypes, establish visibility, embolden others to do the same, and to protest against injustice. 

The theme of “toxic masculinity” and of the potential harm caused to boys by over-reaching blanket negative narratives about males had also been picked up from the film by the audience, and I spoke about the shame and guilt that sexual feelings have the potential to evoke, especially in young males going through the intense storm of puberty, stating that it was important for people to develop an accepting attitude towards their sexual feelings, combined with an ethical approach to how they are expressed. I contrasted this with the starkly anti-sexual culture of the gender ideology movement, where people are encouraged to make themselves anorgasmic and sexually numb as a result of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital amputations. 

Readers who would like to know more about the work and current campaigns of the Scottish Union for Education might like to read this Substack article, written by SUE’s Chairman, Dr Stuart Waiton: Scotland’s schools: where indoctrination trumps education. A very powerful feeling of determination, enthusiasm, and comradeship pervaded SUE’s conference, and we are very grateful for their invitation to screen and promote our new film. SUE is a dynamic, effective, and inspirational organisation that certainly has the potential to inspire people in other countries and states to set up their own Unions for Education in an attempt to protect child safeguarding and replace indoctrination with education in schools. 




Author Profile

Gary Powell, European Special Consultant
Gary Powell, European Special Consultant
Gary Powell is the European Special Consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. In 2021 he was appointed as Research Fellow at the Bow Group, the oldest conservative think tank in the United Kingdom. He studied Philosophy under the tutorship of Baroness Mary Warnock, who chaired the UK Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology that led to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. Gary regards surrogacy as a human rights violation similar to the sale of human organs and campaigns internationally to raise consciousness about the harm it causes to vulnerable people. As a gay man, he opposes surrogacy as an unacceptable LGBT rights objective on account of the serious violations it causes to the rights of other groups.